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Question and Answer
With today's hard drive technologies, is it still necessary to defragment my hard drive? Do you recommend any good defrag programs?
– Sam W., Sacramento, CA

Defragmenting your hard drive quite simply means to reorganize the way information is stored on a computer disk so that all of the information belonging to a file is stored in a single, contiguous area on the disk. Since hard disk seek time is one of the most significant bottlenecks in a computer's performance, "fragmented" data can drag down your computer's speed quite a bit. If you have an excessive amount of "fragmented" files on your hard disk, you might hear extra grinding, sputtering, and other weird noises coming from your computer. That is one indication that defragmenting your hard disk is a good idea. A second indication is when your computer doesn't open files as quickly as it did before. While hard drives size have become larger over the last few years, the drives still operate and store data the same way they always have. In fact, fragmentation can eventually become even more of a problem on 48-Bit hard drives (160+ GB), so it's definitely worth checking the fragmentation level on your drives and defragmenting the drives if needed.

TouchStoneSoftware recommends O&O Defrag 15. Defragmentation with O&O Defrag 15 gives you faster system starts, speeds up programs, and prevents new fragmentation from even occurring.

SSD (Solid State Drives) do not require defragmenting and performing a defrag can actually reduce the life of your SSD drive.

» Try O&O Defrag 15 now!

On Windows XP I used to right-click files and choose "Open with" so I could open web pages with a web browser or an editor. In my Windows 7, the "Open with" context menu has disappeared. Any idea how I could get it back?
- Mike T., Aurora, IL
If you've lost the Open With menu option for ALL your file types, including non-executable files, follow this steps:
  1. Open Notepad of any plain text editor, but not Word (Start | All Programs | Accessories | Notepad)

  2. Paste this text:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Open With]

  3. Save the file as OpenWithRegistryKey.reg (or something similar with a .reg ending) and close Notepad

  4. Double-click your OpenWithRegistryKey.reg file (to merge into the registry) click Continue, then click Yes and OK.
I have some instructions that ask me to type something into the "Run" command. This used to be on the Start menu in Windows XP, but in Windows 7 it's gone! What happened to it?
– Maggie S., Hartford, CT
Windows 7 was designed to be a little less techie, and unfortunately the RUN option was something that was removed. It is pretty easy to get it back.
  1. Click Start button. Go to Control Panel, then Appearance and Personalization (or just Personalization if you have all icons displayed). Click on Taskbar and Start Menu (lower left).

  2. Click Start Menu tab and then the Customize button

  3. Towards the bottom of the list of Start menu options, click the Run command box

  4. Click OK until you exit.
The Run command is displayed on the right side of the Start menu.

Driver Tip: Laptop Battery Charging Issues

Are you having problems with your laptop battery not charging? Have you ever thought that it could be a device driver issue? Well it very well could be.

There are some default battery device drivers which are bundled in Windows 7. These drivers try to control the battery charging properly, but for some laptops, these drivers may not function well. In such cases, users face problems like the laptop battery does not charge even when the battery is low and the power adaptor is properly plugged into the laptop. In such cases, it’s better to download compatible battery drivers and install them instead of the Windows default drivers.

To uninstall the default drivers, navigate to your Device Manager in Windows. In the Device Manager, locate Batteries > Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery, right click on it and choose Uninstall. After you do this, restart the laptop and the battery charging should start to function normally.

BIOS Tip: How to Clear a BIOS Password

One of the most common questions we get is how you clear a BIOS password. A BIOS password can prevent access to the BIOS Setup or even prevent a system from booting. Well, there are basically 3 ways to clear a password:
  1. The most common is to open your computer and remove the lithium battery, wait a few seconds to clear the data from the well and put back CMOS battery. Normally this will erase the password and is not complicated. Some systems require the battery to be out longer. If possible take it out before going to bed and replace it in the morning.

  2. In extreme cases, such as in the old 386, 486 and some other models that have the battery welded, the board does not contain jumpers. In these situations you can use certain programs that will allow you to clear the CMOS. There is one called CLRCMOS that can be run from DOS or Windows. CLRCMOS is available in the support section of our site here.

  3. DEBUG. It runs under DOS and does not require any specific program; the first thing you have to do is start the computer with a DOS system disk. Once it is booted, run the DEBUG as follows:

    c:\> Debug -> enter

    -o 70 17 -> enter

    -o 71 ff -> enter


» Perform a BIOS scan now!

PC Performance Tip: Increase Your Boot Up Speed

One of the best ways to improve the performance of your computer is to limit the items that start when your computer boots up. If you have 20+ programs running automatically when your computer starts, not only will it take forever to boot, but it will be slow the entire time you use it. This happens because even if you’re not using these programs, they will run in the background, which still uses your computer’s resources.

Check out the little icons near your computer’s clock. That’s the system tray. Whatever is in there starts up when your computer starts up — and consequently makes your computer slower. You can improve the performance of your computer pretty easily by doing the following:
  1. Go to Start > Run.

  2. Type msconfig and click OK.

  3. Click the Startup tab.

  4. Clear all the check boxes.

  5. Click OK.

» Perform a registry scan now!

Tech Tip
Windows Unstable? Need to Reinstall? Try Reimage First!
Are you having problems with Windows? Are you getting blue screens? Is Windows crashing and running poorly? Reimage is the program for you. Reimage fixes your Windows OS, eliminating the need for reinstalling. It also reverses the damage already done with a full database of replacement files.

» Click here to download Reimage
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Quote of the Month
"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger"

– Frank Lloyd Wright

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
WhatWasThere ties historical photos to Google Maps, allowing you to tour familiar streets to see how they appeared in the past.

Techie Sites
Tips4PC provides computer Tips and computer help and education. Learn how to fix your computer and get help for free.

Stat of the Month

Worldwide All-in-One Shipments Forecast
(US Dollars)

Global Average Selling Prices for the Hard Disk Drive Market
Source: IHS iSuppli Research
July 2012

Vocab Test

White Label

A white label item is a product or service that is packaged plainly, allowing you to repackage it with your own brand in order to re-sell it.

Browser Add-On

Facebook Chat Notification

The Chrome extension alerts you of new Facebook chat messages with an animated icon and a desktop notification even if you’re away from your browser.

SmartPhone App


Hear a song you don't know? Shazam identifies it instantly.

  Twitter Tip

Tweets that point to photos and /or video and/or music, etc. are always a great way to enhance the Twitter experience.

iPhone App



iOptimizer is the ultimate application for getting to know your iPhone, iPad or iPod better. iOptimizer monitors the performance of your device, so that you can configure it for optimal use. It will also help you find out everything about your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch both on the system and on the user level. iOptimizer is powerful, intuitive, and extremely easy to set up and use.
Best of all — It's FREE!
(New version released
June 15, 2012)

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